Dairy veterinarians highlight need for improved methods of detecting mastitis

Ability to detect mastitis at subclinical level and in early lactation would benefit producers

 Current methods for detecting and diagnosing mastitis in dairy cows are not serving the needs of dairy producers well, according to a survey of leading dairy veterinarians conducted at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners in Charlotte, NC.  The veterinarians surveyed are responsible for nearly 2 million cows in the United States. 

Survey respondents rated current detection methods only an average of 5.2 on a 10-point scale for their ability to meet producers’ needs.  In addition, veterinarians overwhelming supported the importance of detecting mastitis at the subclinical level and in early lactation period for freshened cows.  Mastitis, an infection in milk-producing glands in dairy cows, results in a $2 billion loss in the $25 billion U.S. milk production industry each year. 

“The survey results highlight the need for earlier, quicker and more accurate detection of mastitis,” said Rudy Rodriguez, president and chief technology officer, Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD).  “Technology developed by AAD will allow simple and accurate analysis of differential inflammatory cell counts in addition to the traditional somatic cell count to diagnose mastitis.”

Introduced in the 1960s, somatic cell count method measures the total number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in a milk sample.  Proprietary AAD technology allows the detection of three different types of leukocytes — lymphocytes, neutrophils and macrophages – which provides the ability to detect mastitis at a subclinical level, much earlier than by measuring somatic cell counts. 

Of survey respondents, 94% said that differential counts are more effective than traditional measures of detecting mastitis.  In addition, veterinarians rated the importance of detecting mastitis at a subclinical level at an 8.7 on a 10-point scale. 

“The bottom line is delivering an easy-to-use technology that will help dairy producers increase profits by detecting and treating mastitis at an earlier, subclinical level,” said Rodriguez.  “Producers will be able to treat infected cows earlier, reducing loss of milk production and risk of infection to other cows in the herd.”

Veterinarians overwhelmingly stated that it is important to detect mastitis at freshening, rating it at 8.9 on a 10-point scale.  Incidence of mastitis is highest shortly after calving, with 35% of all infections starting in early lactation.  Current methods do not allow practical testing of all cows following calving, however measurement of differential inflammatory cell counts with new technology from AAD allows detection of mastitis in colostrum at the quarter level.

 Source: Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) was founded in 2001 to commercialize exclusively licensed proprietary technology for the diagnosis of farm-animal diseases, beginning with those that affect milk and milk products. Visit www.advancedanimaldiagnostics.com.

background_banner